Tennessee Vols athletic director Phillip Fulmer released a statement last November stating that Neyland Stadium’s planned renovation was being put on hold.
Fulmer told the Knoxville News Sentinel last month that he still doesn’t have a date for the renovations to start.
With no set date for renovations to start, and no plans technically finalized (there’s always room for changes), there’s an addition I think Tennessee should consider.
Alabama recently announced a $92 million upgrade to Bryant-Denny Stadium. One of the upgrades is a ground level 10,000 square foot social area that is aimed toward students. According to Football Scoop, the area will include charging stations, restrooms, cooling fans and televisions.
I think this is a great idea and I think it should be included in the Neyland Stadium renovation in some capacity.
The way fans consume sports is obviously changing. Attendance at games everywhere is dropping (Clemson didn’t sell out a single home game in 2018). The game day experience needs to change or the attendance numbers are going to keep dipping.
Let’s face it — millennials (which includes me….barely) are becoming the majority that stadiums need to attract. The game day experience needs to be geared (mostly) toward those millennials. That means adding a social area like Alabama has decided to implement. It should also mean improved wifi (functional wifi would be wonderful and it should be No. 1 on the list of upgrades needed).
College football is a sport that’s rife with tradition. Stadiums — especially those in the SEC — are considered sanctuaries. Basically, you don’t mess with them.
But just as large video boards and fancy sound systems found their way into college football, so should more modern advances with the younger fan in mind.
Neyland Stadium needs to be on the forefront of these changes. The historic stadium has already lagged behind for long enough. They need to catch up to the competition and pass them.
Why wait any longer?
Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports